Why Advice Doesn’t Work

Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of The Advice Trap, writes why it’s important for leaders to silence their “Advice Monsters”, start listening and get curious. Michael states that the “Advice Trap” is the pattern of behavior where we give out answers more than we listen. He says advice doesn’t really work anymore for 3 reasons:

1. What you think is the problem isn’t the real problem. People talk about the problems that are on the forefront of their minds. It’s their ‘best guess’ at what the real problem is. Challenges arise when we try to give advice for the symptom, rather than the real problem.

2. Our advice isn’t as good as we think it is. And is usually based on our experience.  We have a cognitive bias. Advice is our best guess; however, we think we are better at giving advice then we actually are.

3. Giving advice is not the best form of leadership. Think through your intent for giving advice.  Is it more important for you to be right and have the best idea?  Or to provide someone else with the opportunity to come up with their own idea and take ownership of it?

Michael challenges leaders to resist giving the answer as long as possible until it is the right moment. There is a right moment to give advice – it is best to take pause and determine when that is…and why you are giving it.

Repurposed from marshallgoldsmith.com